Re-posted from The Times Leader, by Joe Dolinsky – Mon, Feb. 27th)
Entry into the New York City Marathon is no walk in the park. In 2011, 47,000 runners out of nearly 140,000 applicants were chosen to compete in the Big Apple’s biggest competition.
But through a lottery-style drawing, the Allied Services Foundation will be reducing those odds by giving one lucky runner guaranteed entry into the 2012 ING New York City Marathon, with proceeds benefiting Ryan’s Run and children and adults with disabilities.
Last year, 20 runners from Northeastern PA represented Ryan Leckey’s “Team Leckey,” after the WNEP-TV reporter raised nearly $230,000 for Allied Programs.
Jim Brogna, assistant vice president of advancement at Allied Services, said Leckey jumped at the idea to help a local charity when approached in 2010.
“From the very first day we connected with him, it was a hit,” Brogna said.
The success of the first fundraising effort in 2010 helped Ryan’s Run secure bronze charity status as well as several guaranteed spots in the marathon.To date, it is the only charity in Pennsylvania to be given bronze status by the NYC Marathon. Other bronze charities involved in the marathon include The American Red Cross and the Harlem United Community AIDS Center.
“We were truly honored by the status,” Brogna said.
“Every penny we raise goes towards either patient care, clinical training or to new technology,” he added.
Entry into the race is extremely competitive, with less than 5 percent of non-guaranteed applicants being selected. Allied Services is greatly increasing the odds of securing a spot in the marathon by limiting the number of those seeking spots.
“When 140,000 people apply, it’s you versus 140,000 people,” said Allied Services Special Events Manager Charlotte Wright. “Only competing against runners in Pa., you have much better odds.”
The 26.2-mile race has become one of the most famous in the world since its inception in 1970. A humble affair at the time, 170 runners participated in the race that year with just 55 crossing the finish line. Today, the race is broadcast to an audience of nearly 330 million people, with more than $33 million being raised by charities such as Ryan’s Run.
“What could be better than running for a local charity in the world’s largest foot race?” Brogna said.